All-Star week was one of victory and celebration. The celebration extended from League appreciation to Twin Cities appreciation, as thousands of fans poured into the area. MLS reigned victorious over its rivals to the south in both the Skills Challenge and the game, and the energy of the crowd was something to behold. As if on-field success wasn’t enough, the community greatly benefited from hosting the festivities. Community events and donations by the victors are still sending ripples throughout the Twin Cities, even though it’s been over a week. Let’s take a deeper look at the positive impact felt each day.
MLS WORKS All-Star Day of Service presented by Target
The festivities kicked off Monday morning with the MLS Day of Service. Volunteers gathered in the Target Plaza Commons in downtown Minneapolis to help combat food insecurity. In collaboration with Target and U.S. Hunger, volunteers worked to reach their goal of 100,000 meals packed. A collection of Target employees, Minnesota United staff members, and volunteers from the general public joined in the food packing, and afterwards, participants were able to celebrate with music, games, and food.
At the end of the day, the goal amount of 100,000 meals was reached, with Keystone Community Services and Second Harvest Heartland now having the honor of distributing the meals to families in need throughout the area.
MLS All-Star Concert presented by Target
Monday night concluded with an epic concert by Khalid, with local artist Miloe as the opening act. Music and soccer fans alike met in the U.S. Bank Stadium Commons and danced to popular songs such as “Location” and “Lovely.” All proceeds from the tickets were donated to the Alliance, a non-profit organization that focuses on regional equity within the Twin Cities.
MLS WORKS Community Day Presented by Target
Tuesday began with the MLS Community Day. MLS greats and Liga MX legends joined Target, Major League Soccer, Minnesota United, and the U.S. Soccer Federation to unveil a new soccer mini-pitch at the Mt. Airy Boys and Girls Club, which will provide a safe, state-of-the-art soccer pitch for the Boys and Girls Club, the Sol of the Cities Futsal League and the surrounding community.
The soccer mini-pitch system is an innovative, all-in-one solution designed to help communities create fun, active and safe play spaces. The modular system is complete with lighting, fencing, goals, benches, wheelchair-accessible gates, and lockable storage. On top of the state-of-the-art system, the pitch integrates artwork by local non-profit, Design FC, an organization that works with 5th-7th graders to encourage creative thinking and self-expression through design.
MLS All-Star Hometown Heroes Showcase
The Twin Cities are the proud home of many community leaders. During All-Star week, MLS wanted to highlight the great work that goes on here. The Hometown Heroes Showcase was held at the St. Paul Union Depot. The event was a celebration of diverse, innovative, and impactful leaders in the Twin Cities community who are focused on the areas of education, mental health, food security, and social justice. The leaders and their organizations received a suite of support services to help elevate and amplify their impact. There was a live panel discussion and showcase that highlighted their mission and work.
The four honorees of the showcase were:
Muhammad Abdul-Ahad, Founder and CEO, T.O.U.C.H Outreach
Marisa Miakonda Cummings, President and CEO, Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center
Grant West, Founder, Walker West Music Academy
Ekta Prakash, CEO, CAPI
MLS All-Star Skills Challenge presented by AT&T 5G
As an added incentive during the Skills Challenge, the winners would receive a donation to give to their chosen charity. The MLS All-Stars played for Special Olympics Minnesota, and Liga MX played for The Sanneh Foundation. Though MLS won, in the spirit of competition, each group received $25,000.
The money donated to Special Olympics Minnesota is going to help athletes of all types continue to develop their physical fitness and participate in training/competition. The donation to the Sanneh Foundation will go toward campaigns that help advance equity in the Twin Cities.
Additionally, AT&T decided to pitch in during the crossbar challenge. For each ball that hit the crossbar, AT&T donated to Karen FA, an organization dedicated to bringing together the community through soccer, with a focus on gender equity.
MLS All-Star Game presented by Target
The All-Star game kicked off on Wednesday and MLS partners and guests were given a gift option. There was a list of gifts to select from, with the last option being “School Supplies for ACES.” For every guest that selected this option, MLS will send a school bag (with supplies included) to a child through Athletes Committed to Education Students (ACES).
Hosting All-Star week in the Twin Cities was exciting for many reasons. The city held a number of fun events, one of our own – Dayne St. Clair – won All-Star MVP, and there were a number of people who got to experience Minneapolis/St. Paul for the first time. However, above all of that, the positive impacts from community events have left ripples that will greatly outlive the excitement felt on the pitch.